FOR many people looking to get fit for the new year, joining a gym or taking up running is the way forward.

But as our reporter Tom Molloy discovers in his feature on Page 14, there is a more traditional form of exercise people can try - which he discovered is also a whole lot of fun.

The Horwich Prize Medal Morris Men dancing club is encouraging people to give it a go as a way to lose some post-Christmas weight.

And before you dismiss it out of hand, what is not to enjoy about having a good laugh with like-minded people who don’t care what others might think about them?

In fact, morris dancing is as traditional a form of exercise as you can get - far older than fitness centres and five-a-side football.

While the earliest (15th century) references place the Morris dance in a courtly setting, it appears that the dance became part of performances for the lower classes by the later 16th century.

A century later, the working peasantry regularly took part in Morris dances, especially at Whitsun. The Horwich Morris Men train on Wednesdays at the Horwich Resource Centre, in Beaumont Road.

During the 90-minute classes, the foreman of the club teaches and practises a number of traditional North West style morris dances.

The club would love more people to step out of their comfort zone and give it a try!